California Has Officially Legalised The Recreational Use Of Cannabis
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The US State of California has legalised recreational cannabis use.
As of the new year, adults aged over 21 are able to possess up to an ounce (28 grams) of the drug and can grow up to six marijuana plants at home.
Californians voted in favour of Proposition 64 legalising cannabis in 2016, alongside the Presidential vote.
Sale of the drug began at 6am local time at shops that obtained a temporary adult-use retail licence from the state's Bureau of Cannabis Control. It's expected that more licences will be issued in the coming months.
"This was another milestone in California's voter-approved efforts to be smarter and more cost-effective about preventing real crime," Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) told HuffPost. "Now it's time for California to transition a billion-dollar industry largely existing in the shadows of the black market into a tracked, traced, taxed and tightly regulated system."
The state is the most populous in the country and follows the decriminalisation of medical marijuana in 1996.
Now that marijuana is legal for recreational use in California, I'm excited to try it. pic.twitter.com/9IMc45zEwq
- Zach Braff (@zachbraff) January 1, 2018
The LA Times reports that after midnight 'some raised joints instead of champagne glasses'.
Johnny Hernandez, a tattoo artist from Modesto, celebrated by smoking 'Happy New Year blunts' with his cousins.
"This is something we've all been waiting for," he said. "It is something that can help so many people and there's no reason why we should not be sharing that."
There has been widespread declassification of cannabis in North America and Europe in the last decade.
Back in July, Greece went ahead and legalised cannabis for medical purposes, joining the Czech Republic, Finland, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain, making it the sixth EU member state to legalise it.
And a preliminary report on cannabidiol (CBD) by the World Health Organization (WHO) last year claimed the relaxant property of cannabis used in medical marijuana should not be a scheduled drug.
As part of the report, its authors claimed that CBD is 'not associated with abuse potential' and does not lead to physical dependence.